To step into John Derian’s boutique in Manhattan’s East Village is to enter an alternative universe, where 18th-century lanterns immortalized in plexiglass mix and mingle with porcelain horse chestnuts, embroidered velvet turtles, and antique marionettes. Derian, who began his career in 1989 as a découpage artist, has been largely responsible for revitalizing that art form and bringing it to well-styled homes in the United States and beyond through an extensive collection of trays, paperweights, wall hangings, and even cake stands. No wonder he has an especially refined take on the key components to the good life. —Ashley Baker
Airline: One where the food is delicious … Why can’t it be?
Airport: One that has easy access, no lines, and fun things to do. I see playgrounds for kids, so what’s wrong with something for adults? I guess that’s called a bar, but have you ever seen a bar at an airport you wanted to sit at?
Bag: Paper, not plastic. I don’t have wheeled luggage, mostly because I am scared to cause an accident, or hurt myself. I like the Japanese company Porter-Yoshida & Co., which makes simple, lightweight, durable travel bags.
Bedtime: Midnight, but I wish it were earlier. A psychic came into my shop and said, out of the blue, that I was the kind of person who had to be exhausted to go to sleep, which is true!
Bike: My favorite bike is a red one from the late 40s. I got it at the flea market here in New York 18 years ago. It had a license plate that said Michael, my middle name, so it must have been a sign. It’s not bulky, rides well, and looks like a piece of junk, so it’s not desirable to thieves. I’ve had seven bikes stolen since 1992. It is, however, currently seat-less—it was stolen—and waiting for a new one, and an outing.
Boyfriend: Stephen Kent Johnson. I am so lucky to have him in my life. He’s got it all—looks, talent, style, taste, humor. And he can dance, and sing, bake and cook, draw beautifully, and play in the water for hours. He’s also an amazing photographer who understands light. And he always gets all the wild cards in canasta!
Breakfast: Every Thursday, I go to Balthazar at 10:10 after my trainer at Hanson Fitness in SoHo. You wouldn’t know I’ve been going there for over 20 years—I am still skinny, with a big head.
Car: My sister Jan had a convertible two-tone Volkswagen Beetle with a Rolls-Royce grill. It came that way. It was totally beat-up—you could see the ground zoom by through the holes in the floor of the back seat—and it was so much fun.